IRL: Nashville: Firestone race report

Dixon Cements Victory in Nashville It was a best-case scenario for Target Chip Ganassi Racing and just the opposite for Marlboro Team Penske as the IndyCar points race tightened up under the lights tonight at Nashville Superspeedway in the ...

Dixon Cements Victory in Nashville

It was a best-case scenario for Target Chip Ganassi Racing and just the opposite for Marlboro Team Penske as the IndyCar points race tightened up under the lights tonight at Nashville Superspeedway in the Firestone Indy 200.

Scott Dixon overcame a tough start to the weekend, when a gearbox issue nearly sidelined him in qualifying yesterday. He crossed the finish line just ahead of his teammate Dan Wheldon tonight. All season long, the Ganassi duo has presented the strongest challenge to Marlboro Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and points leader Sam Hornish, Jr. Hornish was running a strong race after starting on the outside of the front row, but he got into the marbles and made contact with the wall while attempting to pass Panther Racing's Vitor Meira on a restart. Meira went on to finish in third place, continuing his impressive run this season.

Nashville's concrete surface is known for being tough on tires; however, Firestone engineers brought a new combination to the track this year - and it proved to be a good decision. Tire wear was significantly less than in the past, so pairing this year's Indianapolis tire on the left side and the superspeedway tire used at Homestead, Texas and Kansas earlier this season on the right was the way to go.

Quote from Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing:

"The tires were very good. The wear was excellent, very consistent throughout the day. You know, we had no issue with grip. I think the only time we had problem with grip was on the high line, but it's the same here every year. They were very consistent, and no lack of grip for me!"

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing:

"We brought in a new combination of tires here that had ever been run before, and the wear rates were better than we have ever seen at this track. We are happy with the tire performance. In the past, we had more rapid wear, and teams almost could not go a full stint on a set of tires. So, tonight's race is a testament to the testing and development that we do at Firestone in seeking to continually improve our Firehawk race tires. On a different note, this is a huge event for Firestone - we are the title sponsor for good reason. We had around 2,300 teammates, customers, suppliers and special guests here, and what better way to show them our appreciation than to put on another great IndyCar race under the lights. To me, there's nothing else like it."

Firestone Performance Award winner: Kosuke Matsuura of Panasonic Fernandez Racing earned the $10,000 Firestone Performance Award for leading lap 129 of today's race. The award commemorates the fact that Firestone has competed in every IRL IndyCar Series event since the league's inaugural race in 1996. Today's race was the 129th in league history. Matsuura will be presented with a $10,000 check during pre-race ceremonies for the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile on July 23.

Race temperatures ranged from 92 to 87 degrees track and 90 to 80 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 33 to 30 degrees track and 32 to 26 degrees ambient (C).

-firestone

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Kosuke Matsuura , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing